There was a bit of a “gluff” waiting on the seabed at Sella Ness for divers Chris Strmsek and Chris Watt from Ocean Kinetics when they were inspecting the thrusters on the tug Tystie.
In the area of the tug’s berth they came across a monster lobster, almost double the average size of those normally caught in Shetland waters.
Chris said he’d never seen such a beast. The crustacean weighing in at over eight and half pounds, and with claws the size of a “woman’s hands”.
Their trophy was briefly on show in front of The Shetland Times office at Gremista, although “Auld Rock” as we’ll call him, didn’t come into the newsroom, although five Kinetics men did.
I asked where was the lobster was and they said “waiting outside”. Was he wearing a boiler suit too? I enquired. “Not quite that big” they replied.
“What were they going to do now?” I asked. “Put him back in the water and film him”, said Donald Jeffries. I had expected them to say “eat it”.
But after contacting Kenny Gifford from the college in Scalloway he told me that it was “fair to assume” that Auld Rock was well over 20 years old.
He said at this age they are well covered with barnacles as they do not replace their shells so easily and there is a danger that the claws, being so large, will fall off, being so heavy out of the water. The eating would be a little tough as well.
Kenny, a diver in his younger days, told me the only time he had seen a lobster as big was when they were building the Morrison Dock in Lerwick on the site of Young’s old crab factory.
Hundreds of lobsters could be stored there in a large swimming pool with elastic bands around their claws waiting to be shipped south alive.
Kenny says that as at Sella Ness, no creels had been set there for many a year. Is the monster specimen an escapee from the pool perhaps?
With his release back into the wild the future seems bright for Auld Rock. They say the world is your oyster – but of course it could be easily be your lobster.